The subscription-based business model and in-app purchases are becoming increasingly popular, and Apple itself supports this approach on the App Store. However, some developers have taken advantage of this payment method to trick users into paying for macOS apps that are labeled free.
As reported by the developer Jeff Johnson, Many of the most downloaded apps in the Mac App Store are just “bait” to get money from customers, even though they are offered as free apps.
One of the apps reported by Johnson is GCalendar for Google Calendar, is currently the 40th most downloaded free app from the Mac App Store in the US. Anyone can download it for free on the App Store, but the app has no functionality unless you pay for a license to use it through an in-app purchase.
Even the developer of GCalendar for Google Calendar does not offer a trial period or limited functions for users to explore the app before paying. However, the app still has a four-star rating on the App Store – despite many negative reviews written by real users. The developer also has eight other macOS apps on the Mac App Store that work similarly.
As Johnson explained, these developers took advantage of the App Store allowing anyone to download and rate apps for free. This way, they can easily plan to rank their app among the most downloaded apps on the App Store with a good rating.
While Apple is tough against installing apps from outside the App Store to “protect users,” the company doesn’t seem to care about fraudulent apps on its store, according to Johnson.
Apple proudly says that it has a rigorous review process to decide which apps can enter the App Store, but the App Store (especially the Mac) is still filled with apps that confuse users.